Tag Archives: dessert

Poached Pear with Cinnamon Quills and Brandy


I sat in my kitchen trying to come up with a dessert that was slightly unusual and not something that most people would have tried.

The problem with being a male who loves cooking is this

1. I  always have that urge to justify why what I am making is masculine.

2. I am lazy.

With both of these factors in mind and a bowl of pears sitting under my nose I came up with the following recipe.

It is simple, delicious and contains brandy (the masculine part).

Serve this dish up the next time you have someone over and they will be blown away by the mix of flavour and presentation.


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 pears (peeled)
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • ¼ cup brandy

  • In a large deep pot over a medium heat stir the water, sugar, cinnamon and brandy until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil.
  • Add the peeled pears  (leave the stalk on),  reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure the pears stay under the syrup while cooking.
  • Serve with ice cream and bittersweet chocolate chips/shavings
Slice off the rounded base of the pear to achieve a flat surface on which to sit the pear for serving.

Bacon, Maple, French Toast Cupcakes

Mmmmn bacon.....

When a guy cooks it is usually something masculine like a huge T-bone or ribs, hamburgers or wings.

Not cupcakes.

My wife needed something for her companies bake sale for charity. Offices around the country were all participating so she was feeling the pressure. As my skills  in the kitchen (dare I say it ) are a fraction higher than hers I offered to make something that everyone would remember.

She wanted cupcakes.  She had even told people she was bringing cupcakes.

How do you make cupcakes memorable, and more importantly, less feminine?

Solution: Add bacon.


The cupcakes were a hit. My wife raised over $200 and a common comment was  “Eeeew bacon! On a cupcake!” , which soon changed once they purchased their second one.

Below is the recipe for the Bacon,Maple, French Toast Cupcakes that I devised from a few different recipes online.

French Toast Cupcakes

What You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
  • Crisp Bacon
  • Equipment: A six cup jumbo muffin pan or 12 cup regular muffin pan


1.) Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

2.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.)

3.) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla, and also set aside.

4.) Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.

5.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next (scrape the bowl down occasionally). Raise the speed to medium and mix briefly until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.

6.) Thoroughly clean the bowl of the mixer and put the egg whites inside. Whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed.

7.) Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cups in the muffin pan. Bake, rotating the pan once, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

8.) Remove the cupcakes  from the oven and cool completely.

For the frosting: I wanted something that had actual maple syrup in it, but not a huge quantity like most of the frosting recipes online. This worked very well and disguised the strong butter flavour to a delicate creamy sweet maple taste.

1/2 cup (115g)  unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3-4tbsp. maple syrup
1-2 tbsp. milk (if needed)

To prepare the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar.  Beat on medium speed until well combined, then increase speed and beat until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the maple syrup.  Mix until incorporated.  If the frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk and beat until smooth and desired consistency is achieved.  Top each cupcake with a swirl of frosting on top